May Head To Assembly Today

NY Judiciary Committee Approve Nup Bill

New York State came on step closer to full equality yesterday, when the State Assembly’s Judiciary Committee approved Governor Eliot Spitzer’s marriage equality bill.

Though the 16-5 victory may not sound like a big deal, but Gay City News‘ Paul Schindler says otherwise

The Democratic conference, which includes 108 of the chamber’s 150 members, has been weighing whether to bring the bill to the floor for the past month. Speaker Sheldon Silver, the Democratic leader from the Lower East Side, was known to be unwilling to have a floor vote unless he were certain that his party had enough votes, at least 76, for passage, and the number of known Democratic supporters has been hovering right near that number for the past several weeks.

It is widely considered unlikely that the bill would have gone to the Committee unless the intention were to take it as well to the Assembly floor. The unanimous Democratic vote for the measure signals that the conference has come around to support its passage.

Specifically, four of the Democrats who supported the measure today – Helene Weinstein of Queens, the Committee chair; Peter Rivera of the Bronx; Michele Titus of Queens; and Kenneth Zebrowski, Jr., of Rockland County – were all to-date publicly neutral. The shift of four Democrats in a group of 16 confirms the party’s coalescence around the measure.

Democratic support’s just one component of the larger political picture. Republicans hold the advantage in New York’s Senate, which means they may be able to sway nay votes.

New York politicos suggest the issue may be taken up as early as today. We’ll keep you posted as things develop…